Brandy Melville’s CEO doesn’t want Black people to wear the brand’s clothing, according to an ex-store owner

Brandy Melville's Instagram grid, showing various thin, white girls

Stephan Marsan, the mastermind behind Brandy Melville, has a very specific vision for his ideal customer, per those who know him.

According to a new Insider investigation, when Franco Sorgi opened the first Brandy Melville store in Canada in 2012, he said Marsan made it clear that he did not want Black people to shop at the brand. Marsan told him that overweight or Black customers would ruin the brand’s reputation, Sorgi told Insider.

Instead, Marsan wants “good-looking rich little girls” as customers, according to Sorgi, who used to own 11 Brandy Melville locations in Canada. Sorgi and others who know Marsan said Brandy Melville aims to win over the most popular high school girls as customers – then, watch sales explode. In Marsan and other executives’ minds, the most beautiful and coolest teenagers were almost all white and thin.

Brandy Melville's New York City flagship store
Brandy Melville’s New York flagship store. Hollis Johnson/Insider

Insider’s reporting uncovered extensive allegations of racial discrimination at the cult fashion brand. More than two dozen current and former employees told Insider that Brandy Melville’s hiring and firing practices were influenced by race. Brandy Melville representatives, attorneys, and Marsan did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

Sorgi is currently suing Bastiat USA, which runs Brandy Melville’s North American operations, alleging his agreement to run the Canadian stores was terminated because he refused to discriminate based on appearance and race. In the lawsuit, Sorgi alleges Brandy Melville executives said the customers at one of his stores were “ghetto” and that a manager at another store was too “short and fat” to work at Brandy Melville.

Luca Rotondo, a former senior vice president who is also suing the company, said Marsan told him to fire hundreds of employees because they failed to meet his thin, white, blonde ideal.

“If she was Black, if she was fat … he didn’t want them in the store,” Rotondo told Insider.

Meanwhile, in a private group chat, Marsan’s friends and coworkers exchanged memes featuring the N-word, and referenced Hitler at least 24 times.

Read the full investigation into racism, Hitler memes, and sexual exploitation at Brandy Melville here